Eating Disorders1

In recent history, the idea of feminine beauty has been shifting toward a less healthy, overly thin model. More than 25,000 years ago when humansfirst evolved, women exaggerated their reproductive organs, like breasts and hips, using fertility symbols. Slim women were not considered beautiful because they did not seem healthy enough to nourish and raise a family, or make it through the winter. Slim women were also considered to be poor, because they could not afford enough food to keep their body full and healthy. During the Renaissance era, beautiful paintings from world famous artists, including Michelangelo, featured full-figured women. Full figures continued to be popular throughout the Mannerism and Baroque periods, which continued up through the 1730’s. In the mid-1700’s, women’s figures started to change. The women began to wear girdles, cinching up their waist to exaggerate their “curves”. The girdles were painful but women wanted to get their waist as small as they could. In the 1900’s, waists became even smaller.

The Roaring 20’s brought radical changes to women and their bodies. Young girls called “flappers” became popular. They wore their hair short and boyish, wore rolled down stockings and short, baggy dresses exposing their arms and legs. They were defined as “rebels”, and embarrassed the older generation by the way they dressed and acted. They refused to be “lady-like”, and they were wild. “Twiggy” was the most popular fashion model in the 1960’s, named for her ultra-thin body. She exposed more and more of her stick-like body to the camera, and inspired other girls to become like her, because she was popular, different, and wild. The super-skinny image is still portrayed today, even though it is not healthy.

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In the early 1990’s a magazine headline read, “You Can Never Be Too Thin”. Some women literally believed this, and died of starvation and suffered from anorexia nervosa. Teenagers are directly targeted …

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